Archive for the ‘WikiLeaks’ Category

Censorship in America is accepted in only two circumstances, obscenity and national security. The latter is as prevalent today as it was in 1787 when the ink dried on the U.S. Constitution. Does the public have a right to know what the government is doing? In this country the answer has been yes, more often than not. The problem lies with who is deciding what the public has a right to know and when. Does the image of a politician count as national security? That depends on the government.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein played an integral role in the Watergate scandal, by exposing the corruption of the Nixon administration. Sure, Nixon didn’t want this information to get out, but the public had a right to know. Daniel Ellsburg revealed vast amounts of information leading up to and following the War in Vietnam. The Supreme Court attempted to prevent this information from leaking by placing an injunction on the New York Times in the infamous Pentagon Papers case. Ultimately, the public won again when the files were released. The discussion today falls to the recent WikiLeaks cables that have shed light on America’s foreign affairs and dealings.

In the article from, Senator Joe Lieberman claimed the New York Times committed a crime, while chief Washington correspondent David Sanger defended his newspaper’s right to publish the information found in these cables. This is obviously not the first time the Times has come under this scrutiny and probably won’t be the last. In the end, the press should prevail. So, the question returns: Does the public have a right to know?

I respond with a resounding, YES. The public votes to put politicians in power, and they should always remember the power they possess is given to them by the public. The people need to know what their government is doing. Their tax money pays for the government’s spending and their wants and desires should direct the governing of the country. As a realist, this doesn’t always occur. Unfortunately, I think once most politicians are elected they’re going to do whatever they want. That is until the next election anyway. Regardless, like I said, the public definitely has a right to know what the government is doing.

The Times provided a service to the public by drudging through the thousands upon thousands of documents for the purpose of interpreting the meaning and significance of the WikiLeaks cables. Sure, they could have just pasted them in the paper, but nobody would take the time to read the lengthy documents, never mind being able to decipher what they meant. Not to mention, before the Times ever released the information they talked to the Obama administration about what should and would be redacted from the files. The Times followed the necessary steps to reduce the possibility of affecting national security.

Apparently, Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee doesn’t agree. This is a classic case of the government wanting to prevent the public from knowing the truth. Since the information was being released all over the world with or without the Times, there was nothing the courts could do to stop these documents from being released. The Times would’ve failed the American people if it did not release this information.

The Times provided a service to the people, Sen. Lieberman and they should not be punished for it. One of the best things about this country is the rights given for a free press. Don’t try and limit a necessary element of this country and don’t lash out at America’s most respectable news organization. Take your aggression out on trying to prosecute Julian Assange and leave editorial decisions to the professionals.